Skip to main content

tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  September 11, 2014 2:00am-3:01am EDT

2:00 am
>> the fight against the islamic state fighters in iraq and syria could cost america billions of dollars. i'll tell where you that cash would come from, and what it might buy. i'm looking at how the small and wealthy country of qatar has become an influence and sometimes controversial player in the region. plus, effect playing video games. some companies are betting big that some day you'll want to watch video games. i'm ali velshi, and this is "real money." >> this is "real money." you are the most important part of the show. tell me what's on your mind by sweeting me at ali velshi or hit me up at facebook.com/ali velshi. 13 years after al-qaeda
2:01 am
attacked america and after a decade of wars in iraq and afghanistan the islamic state group has forced president obama to rally support from allies, congress, and the american people to destroy a group of brutal militants who have gained control over large parts of iraq and syria. the u.s. will lead what the pentagon is now saying is a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. that's a quote. the president said this will involve, a comprehensive and sustained strategy. he said it won't involve american forces on the ground but instead will rely on a, quote, steady relentless effort to take out isil wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground, end quote. and part of the strategy will involve cutting off the group's access to money. tonight the united states is intensifying it's efforts to undermine the group's finances through sanctions through
2:02 am
islamic state officials and finance eers and it will interrupt other sources of funding. how much money will it cost to fight the islamic state, and where will the money come from? this is at a time when americans are tired of mideast wars that have cost thousands of lives and $1.5 trillion. you'll recall the president asked congress for $500 million back in june to train and arm pro western rebels in syria. congress didn't act. so the president is now renewing his request for the funds to take on the islamic state in syria. we also know the pentagon said that u.s. airstrikes and other military operations in iraq aimed at the islamic state cost about $560 million from mid-june to the end of august, or about $7.5 million a day. but those figures are nothing compared to the 15 to $20 billion annual cost of
2:03 am
targeting the islamic state in both iraq and syria. that's according to an estimate by professor gordon adams. he's counting every from airstrikes to surveillance to providing equipment to the iraqi forces. whatever the figure the ultimate cost would be in addition to the $496 billion pentagon budget that begins in october. but give the new reality in the mideast america may have to rethink its military budget and give up on the idea of a peace dividend 13 years after the 9/11 attacks. the president is trying, it seems to make military action more pallettible to americans by emphasizing that the heavy lifting will not be done just by america but a coalition. mike viqueira standing by at the white house. mike, tell us what this coalition looks like. who is in it? what will it do? >> reporter: well, significantly it will include many members of
2:04 am
the region, countries from the region and significantly many sunni-led governments in the region. the president made a point, they allowed the cameras to go through the french door winds an windows and watch president obama talk with the president of saudi arabia. other sunni-led governments are on board. this is a perception issue, this could not be a western-led invasion of iraq and syria, and make no mistake when the president talks about expanding airstrikes into syria there is an iraqi upon comment of this as well. isil is operating there well. including references to the regional coalition including
2:05 am
gulf and middle eastern states. >> we'll have to see how this new tact all works out. mike viqueira for us at the white house. i want to look more closely at the islamic state group and how it operates. as you know it emerged from what it was originally an affiliate of al-qaeda or al-qaeda in iraq called aqi. the two groups are organized and funded very differently. as we report that presents a serious challenge to the obama administration. >> reporter: borne out of war. committed to arm struggle, dreams of creating an islamic caliphate. >> isis has remained much more interested in pursuing an islamic state in iraq and syria whereas al-qaeda built training camps in afghanistan, and really adopted a much different model of exporting jihad.
2:06 am
>> different trajectories midwifed by circumstance. al-qaeda sprang from the resistence to the soviet occupation of afghanistan. with the taliban-consolidated power in the country following the soviet withdrawal, so osama bin laden found a safe haven there in what would become aqi. al-qaeda in iraq. forerunner of today's islamic state group. al-qaeda in iraq did not have the luck rather of cutting its teeth in a safe haven. it had to fight for territory in in an active war zone. positions that with funding strategies which would under pin the islamic state's existence. the islamic state group is self sufficient .
2:07 am
a trade estimated to bring in up to $3 million a day. >> it's been very resistant historically to receiving funding from foreign patrons whether states or private donors. widely because it does not want to cede autonomy or control. >> in this classified document seized by u.s. forces in which a member cautions on relying on string-attached donations from foreign countries. warning, quote, make your dog hungry and he will follow you. the self-funding model also insulates i.s. intense international banking laws and stop funding of money. tools which disrupt al-qaeda's funding streams but which can't touch i.s.'s internal financing. >> to talk more about the islamic state group and how it differs from al-qaeda and
2:08 am
other affiliates is richard barrett. and is now senior vice president of the co consultant group. al-qaeda had a lot less shame about taking money from wealthy donors. now it has become isis and now islamic state, they don't worry about that as much as they used to. >> they don't need to. the point is they have so many of their own resources really the donations that they still get from private individuals are really rather insitting. for example, the oil fields, even if they sold it at a discounted price you're talking $2 million a day. that's pretty significant money. that's a remarkable discount but they do sell it, that means there has got to be a buyer somewhere. there is speculation not turkish government but turkish business people.
2:09 am
is that a place where the west can apply pressure? turkey is a nato country. they can be brought to apply certain security measures. >> i'm sure that's one of the revenue streams that the united states and allies will try to restrict, of course it is. but at $25 a barrel that's a hell of a discount. there are many who will take the risk in getting it out. >> it's very different fighting these guys. al-qaeda had the protection of a state, as rudimentary as the taliban was, they were in control of all the afghanistan's governmental infrastructure. callislamic state is not. you can't use the banking regulations against them because they don't use the banking system. >> it's a bit of a cash economy there, but they do control resources. they don't control the mosul dam any more but apart from the refineries they have other electricity-producing things. they have
2:10 am
cell phone companies operating there, and other resources, all these things are services which can be sold to the public. but beyond that, business goes on. about 6 million people now living under the islamic state control. so taxation happens, and if you're nod prepared to day we'll call it extortion but it's still paid up. and businesses are operating. and the islamic state has taken over businesses. they're selling stuff that people have left behind. christians, sunni, shia, those who have left behind, and they're appropriating that and selling it off as a further source of income. they've got lots of things going for them, not to mention the kidnapping for ransom. >> which causes consternation among western nations. officially these nations say we do not pay ransoms because it will endanger every western citizen around the world.
2:11 am
every will become a kidnap target. some countries do pay ransoms officially or unofficially. how does one think about these things? >> the playing field is not evening. if you're british or american, bad luck because you're probably going to be killed. the value is not in the money, it's somewhere else in political gesture. but yes, governments do go on paying ransoms. they say, well, we didn't pay it. someone paid it on our behalf, essentially. and i'm saying, yes, you're absolutely right. that leads to further kidnapping. but it leads to something else as well. if i get $2 million or $5 million for releasing a kidnap victim. what am i going to do with that? i'm going to buy more arms, kill a lot of people as a result. >> are you more worried about this than al-qaeda? >> well, al-qaeda in in retro
2:12 am
suspect looks like a tin pot compared to the islamic state. yes, we can restrict their finances a bit, but not all of them. we can restrict their territory a bit, but not all of it. we can blow up their artillery and tanks but not all of it. this is going to be a long fight. we have to attack the finances and military capability and attack the recruitment and the sympathy that they win from sunni tribes. >> richard barrett, thank you so much for joining us, senior vice president at the suf on group. the smart phone that could one day replace your wallet. those stories and more as real money continues. keep it here. >> the boing 787, >> the dream-liner is the plane of the future. >> an all new airplane in a once in a generation achievement of human ingenuity.
2:13 am
>> but al jazeera discovers a dark side. >> three years late... fleet grounding... fires on the airplane... >> they're short changing the engineering process... >> we go undercover on the factory floor... al jazeera investigates the boing 787 watch online now
2:14 am
>> on tech know, imagine getting the chance to view the world. >> the brain is re-learning how it sees again >> after decades in the dark, >> i couldn't get around on my own >> a miraculous bionic eye... >> i'm seeing flashes >> great >> tech know, every saturday go where science meets humanity. >> this is some of the best driving i've every done, even though i can't see. >> tech know. >> we're here in the vortex. only on al jazeera america.
2:15 am
>> polls in scotland show that independence is gaining momentum, and that's making british prime minister david cameron very nervous. he does not want to be the last prime minister of the united kingdom, and he has made a special visit to scotland to urge them to stay. >> in his swept motorcade div ing into an underground car park, the prime minister did not kiss babies but spoke to members of the leading pension funds. some of the questions were tough, but the message was insistence. believe us when we say we care about you deeply. >> i care hugely about this extraordinary country. this united kingdom that we built together. that's what i want to talk about today.
2:16 am
because i would be heartbroken if this family of nations that we've put together and that we've done such amazing things together, if this family of nations was torn apart. >> reporter: all the same was stage-managed. one set of pictures to be shared by all. outside the camera crews did not have much to do but to look there are the windows. despite the fact that the dialogue in scotland is taking place in an office rather than out on the street, and the choice of venue is surprising, this is edinburgh's financial corridor, a mirror of the city of london, many nationalists blame for causing so many of scotland's problems. [ cheering ] just down the road at the same time the scottish nationalist leadership was being swamped by cameras. lots of small children here and loyal supporters. not only scots, either, resenting london's influence over their lives.
2:17 am
listen to this londoner who is married to a scott. >> so much money in london it's like a drain. the money just continues to pour in and politicians are just completely drawn by that money. they don't look elsewhere. [applause] >> reporter: it wasn't just david cameron trying to tell the scots that they're loved. the national leaders of the other two main parties fanned out across scotland. lawrence lee, al jazeera, edinburgh. >> the path of separating scotland from the union is one fruit with danger and uncertainty. those words from an h editorial titled "scots land's fateful choice." it does not have a solo author but is meant to represent the publication. here is a reporter and scotland native, and he joins me now.
2:18 am
robin, booed t good to see you. this suddenly got exciting. someone told me i'm over this scotland independent thing. i said oh, it just got good. these polls showing independence ahead of union? >> we have seen a new poll that puts it back to 53%-47%. >> 53% for staying in the union. there is a little less nervousness now, but certainly it is an unprecedented situation that the union is in such peril that it's so close to breaking up. currently the yes campaign has been doing a very good job. and the no campaign has not been doing as good of a job. >> we've seen this happen. we have seen in the qu├ębec referendum, things can change in the last few days. in the economy there is a relationship between scotland and great britain. there is a currency relationship although when you go to scotland
2:19 am
you can get pound sterling notes that say bank of scotland on them, but they're interchangeable, and then the wider economy. tell me what the story is, the advantages and disadvantages. >> really the referendum campaign has been about the economy. it's been like a typical british general election, will you be better off. really i think the key victory for the yes side has been to persuade people that despite what most economists think is the fiscal relationship that scotland gets money from the united kingdom, they've been able to persuade people that that's not really the case, and an independent scotland could be better off, giving people permission to dream and to think, well, we can be rid of this relationship. >> once you've got the permission to dream , then anything is possible. once you've gotten rid of the yoke that this is going to be bad for us economically, why not being independent? >> well, i think that's probably the real failure of the no campaign. they have not put a positive case when you think about it,
2:20 am
the united kingdom is a remarkable country. it has built fabulous things in the 307 years it has existed. scotland has enjoyed scotland enlightenment and produced world class thinkers, and the campaign has not been saying those things. it hasn't been saying there is not a huge cultural gulf between those two sides and people feel frustrated that they have not put that across. >> young people can vote. they love change. they're not much for the status quo. the no side, the vote against the separation is, as you say, it's a little unsexy and status quo -ish the yes side is create your own destiny. >> that reflects the changes in scotland in recent years. it was in the 1950s, david cameron's party was stronger than it was in england.
2:21 am
now they have just one legislature in the parliament. young people do seem to be feeling some of that. perhaps going back to the stronger supporters in the pro independent side. really the point that that the leader put across in the piece you read before, economically there is not much sign that this is going to do an awful a lot of good for scotland. the leaders are concerned that the nationalists have put across an accurate portrayal of how scotland will fare. >> as you know from american politics, accuracy and emotion does not always run hand in hand. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> i'm taking a closer look at a small but wealthy country that has a huge influence. i'll examine qatar and it's controversial role in the middle east.
2:22 am
>> my name is shaquan mcdowell i'm a 17 year old teenager. i go to a public high school outside of the city limits of atlanta. it's 99% african american we do get a quality education. you know we have teachers that really care about us as far as the african american stereotypes, all the music they listen too is rap, they only use ebonics, they don't know how to speak proper english, they've never read a book in their life, all they do is get high, smoke weed, no... i've never been exposed to anything like that... coming from a mom who as a single mother, had her first child at 16, who is the ceo of her own company, me being someone who is about to graduate, who is the recipient of a full scholarship, the stereotype is absolutely flawed. >> did it ever cross your mind that. being a single mother that, your children may end up like the statistics say they're gonna fail >> being a single mom... raising five kids, i've always said you guys, you be 100% the best that you can be >> i would like to run for the senate in 2032. then it leads to the great
2:23 am
big goal in life, to run for the office of the president of the united states of america >> catch more stories from edge of eighteen on al jazeera america
2:24 am
>> putting an end to credit cards. iphone and watch unveiled features a system called apple pay. it's a way to pay for stuff without wiring your stuff will be stolen. hackers have been using it for years. jake ward tells us how safe nfc is for consumers. >> reporter: it's really to understand any possible vulnerabilities to the apple pay system you have to understand how the technology accesses your money. at the heart of apple's new apple pay system is a technology called nfc, or near field communications. it sends private data via radio
2:25 am
waves across a distance of two inches. hackers have been playing with it in benign ways for years. in several systems already existed use nfc to exchange money. since 2011 you could pay for parking in 30,000 parking meters in san francisco using nfc-enabled mart phones. it's not like apple is killing everybody, way out maid of every on this one. but if you have either bought anything through either one on iphone, you could be ready to make purchases. this is nfc's debut. payment also rely on a token system in which the phone gets an one-time code from your credit card provider for your purchase. >> and the cashier does not get to see your name, number and
2:26 am
code as they do today. >> reporter: making apple pay acceptable at mcdonald's and other outlets those eager for a more convenient and safer payment. this is nfc's first real trial by fire. it will create a new subculture. the new apple watch will incorporate the pay technology which means many people won't have to dig into their pockets for the phone to buy something. the sheer number of transactions apple is about to bring into the world will likely bring with it a new subculture of criminal. looking for weaknesses in the system. a weakness that no one has found, not yet. ali, i spoke to several security experts and they say the nightmare scenario, the way that hackers will probably try to get into a phone via nfc is by
2:27 am
attaching a fake sticker to the terminal at point of sell. if you were to put it in the wrong place, make it look a legit sticker and you connected to it. it could cause your phone to connect with an url, and if that purchase looks legit and you press yes, you could walk into a whole mess of trouble. now we need something better than the credit cards we have. currently the united states is incredibly behind. we're literally last among developed nations when it comes to credit card security. in 2012 fully half of all credit card breaches were in the united states it's important that we come up with something new. we have to come up with something better. but security experts are showing that hackers can get into phones. they've shown it o on the
2:28 am
android shows out of the box. they'll show it once these hit the streets. it will be an all out war to make sure that it's safe. >> i'm not trusting think thing. i'll let others try it. i had to use a chart to show you this. dollar general is getting ha hostile. it's trying to obtain family dollar. it's taking it straight to family dollar. skipping the board and going right to the shareholders. you don't have to be a bargain shop for know that the offer to family dollar trumps dollar tree's offer, but family dollar decided to go can dollar tree. because it has a better chance of
2:29 am
passing antitrust regulators. they'll do whatever it takes to make sure that regulators approve this transaction. i think i understood that. stay tuned. coming up, violence and the money in the middle east. i'll look at how countries in the region funnel money to militant groups and we're going to start with qatar. when we come back. >> this is what the wests' historic drought looks like. in california, farmers are struggling to irrigate their crops, but not far away sits this... the vast pacific ocean. and so here in carlsbad, north of san diego, the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere is under construction at a cost of a billion dollars. and farther up the coast... >> we are in the lovely city of santa barbara at our desalination facility that was built during the last drought and we are looking at reactivating the facility to help meet the demands of this current drought.
2:30 am
>> twenty plus years ago this facility was state of the art, but time and technology has changed, recommissioning this plant is a huge undertaking, but without it, the region could likely run out of water.
2:31 am
>> saturday >> prop 8, really made us think about this process of coming out. >> meet the committed couples >> gay marriages, straight marriages... have the same challenges. >> it's all about having the same options as everybody else. >> that fought for equality >> saying "i do" changed everything. >>every saturday, join us for exclusive, revealing and surprising talks with the most interesting people of our time. "talk to al jazeera" saturday 5 eastern only on al jazeera america >> america's focus is on the mideast and how the united states and it's allies can stop
2:32 am
the islamic state group. part of it will be to cut off its financing. one of the biggest weapons is money. some of the funds are provided to groups fighting on the ground. saudi arabia, turkey and qatar have been accused of funding terrorism. now al jazeera's is head quartered in qatar, and partially funded by the government. tonight we focus on qatar. at first glass qatar hardly seems the place that would be a big player in the region. it's one of the tiniest countries in the middle east, population 2 million, but only a quarter of them are actual citizens. but qatar exports more than $100 billion worth of oil and gas every year. when measured in terms of gdp
2:33 am
that translates into $85,000 a person. 60% higher than in the united states. all that money gives this small country a disproportionate presence on the global stage, and analysts say qatar actively maintains good relationships with opposing sides in the region's myriad conflicts. >> the goal here has been for the countries to use their vast wealth to buy influence around the region and to demonstrate significant policy independence from their neighbors. totally saudi arabia and united arab emirates. they have a broader populist position in the region. >> unlike its neighbors especially saudi ayyub i can't arabia, caughter wa
2:34 am
qatar is a supporter of the arab spring. it has played the role of peacemaker as well as armed supplier making it hard to define qatar's ultimate goals. it sports the largest u.s. air base in the middle east along with the forward headquarters of the u.s. central command responsible for military operations in afghanistan. at the same time qatar hosts exiled leaders of the taliban. it is against bashar al-assad , a stat support that u.s. endorses. but it also supports rebels, something that to arm extremists. >> it's clear that qatar has supported some of the more hard lined groups. >> reporter: the u.s. treasury
2:35 am
has accused qatar of hosting terrorist financiers. siding two private individuals it accused funneling money from qatar to al-qaeda affiliates in syria. while the treasury didn't say that the two ever acted on behalf of the cu qatari government, i qatar denies supporting terrorists but it does work with other nations including the united states, britain, germany and france and six countries in the region to provide support to syria's armed opposition. >> there are those quick to point out that qatar supports all kinds of groups and oftentimes those who are critical of the qatari position has competing foreign policy agenda. >> reporter: indeed, qatar policies have clashed with saudi arabia. the biggest dispute between the two is qatar's support of the
2:36 am
muslim brotherhood in egypt. in 2013 qatar gave mohammed morsi's government $8 billion in aid before he was forcebly removed from office. the saudis on the other hand have grown their support behind egypt's military, which removed morsi and outlawed his muslim brotherhood party. and qatar has focused on education, media on vocal opponent of egypt's current regime and strong supporter of islamic movement across the region. including the muslim brotherhood m. it has supported hamas. qatar denies that it gives financial support directly to hamas which is considered a terrorist group by both israel and the united states.
2:37 am
but it has pledged $400 million in reconstruction aid to gaza, which is controlled by hamas. >> we have this problem with qatar to some extent trying to have it both ways. yes, they have openness but trying to be a home to the taliban, home to others that gives mix messages. it has bankrolled some of the most extreme islamists out there. >> reporter: and by reverting to its traditional role, that of indispensable mediator. >> i'm also grat grateful for the tireless work of our diplomats and the government of qatar who helped to secure the release. >> reporter: that's a role that the u.s. government and many are happy for qatar to play.
2:38 am
they played an intermediate exchange that led to the release of bowe bergdahl. and was asked to intermediate the release of of or. bu serving as u.s. ambassador to syria from 2002-2003 before becoming president and ceo of a non-profit educational group. he is a seasoned diplomat who has worked in iraq, jordan, united arab emirates. you understand this dynamic better than most. something that i just mentioned in the story. u.s. central command, the forward operating base no long center saudi arabia.
2:39 am
we used to be based in saudi arabia. that base is now in qatar. what are the important u.s. military and strategic interests that sort of have to be weighed when we're discussing putting treasur pressure on some of these countries and vis-a-vis their financing of militants. >> qatar is a member of the fgc, and there are problems with qatar and united arab emirates in backing parties around the world. but the there is a rivalry, and they're trying to come up with an agreement in iran in halting the development of nuclear technology and missiles.
2:40 am
qatar is a member of the gcc, it's very important having our air base there when we're very concerned about isis, we're concerned about iran and it's edg hegemonic ambitions, and other groups in the area. all of this makes qatar an important player for the u.s. and the gulf. but as your report aptly pointed out there are contradictions in that relationship. >> and those could tradition dictions go further. one of the other countries that america is attempting to put pressure on to try but certainly through the u.s. treasury to try to stop the funnel of funds going to militant groups is turkey. turkey, in addition to other regional important roles, is a nato ally, and borders syria and iraq. this is complicated for people like you who have been ambassadors in the region where on one hand you've got to say a hey, we need you to stop doing this.
2:41 am
on the other hand we really need this from you, and in the middle we need their mediation to get hostages released. >> that's correct. and you have to balance these interests, and ultimately it's the president of the united states who has to decides how far he's willing to let these fellows go in terms of actions that we don't like in order to get corporation we do want. i would say right now with the isis threat that the u.s. government will be talking as we have been to turkey. we just had the defense secretary hagel there, and to the gcc states about insuring that we cut off the financial support for isis and closely allied groups, and the turkey better police its border and stop the flow of weapons andy hadists across that border into syria.
2:42 am
>> and there are some speculations that a lot of those islamic state people go in, in some cases using western passports, but otherwise arab nation passports going through turkey into syria, and of course there is no border to speak of between syria and iraq, and that's how these isis guys get around. there is talk about former authorization now about the u.s. to train and equipment militants who are fighting the islamic state in syria by the way by definition they are also fighting the syrian regime. you know, this is complicated. this is dangerous stuff when you make a decision to say these are the boots on the ground we need. they're determined they can do it, but now we're fighting another group, and history has shown every time the united states makes a decision to do that , 15 to 20 years later those guys come back to bite us. >> in syria we know. we've been covertly helping
2:43 am
elements that have been vetted of the free syrian army, people we think can be trusted with our weapons to do the right thing, fight the regime, and not slaughter civilians. but we've also seen that isis has ended up with u.s. weapons not only those that it captured up and in around mosul and iraq from the iraqi army when it collapsed in the battle up there, but they also defeated free syrian army units and taken their u.s. weaponry as well. >> let me ask you this, this is a hard question to answer, but there are so many examples in the last 205 20 to 30 years of who we back and who we fight in the middle east. it seems obvious to americans and the world that we have to put our back into defeating the islamic state group as they're called now. are there unintended
2:44 am
consequences we should be aware of today? >> in the middle east there are always unintended consequences. in battling isis we don't know what the blow back will be on some of our allies like jordan and lebanon. do we really want the syrian regime to fall tomorrow? would that really be in our best interest? given the fact that it's not just isis we're dealing with, but we're dealing with al nusra front, which is part of al-qaeda. they give their allegiance to the leader of al-qaeda. you also have the islamic front, which is a grouping of organizations that want sharia law imposed in syria, even though there are plenty of groups in syria that don't adhere to sharia law, and whose religion--whose religious tenants would not permit that. >> you mentioning is interesting, the al nusra front in syria. that's the official al-qaeda
2:45 am
affiliate in syria. they were the al-qaeda until they were sent out by al-qaeda. do we want the regime in syria to fall tomorrow. the story of islamic state and it's success in iraq and syria is as much about failed governments as it is about the strength of this movement. >> no doubt about it, misrule in the middle east and north africa has embedded and helped the rise of islamist movements and now increasingly the most radical islamist movements we've seen in modern history. there is a problem with the way these regimes rule, but at the same time they've created this dichotomy. it's either us or the islamists. which would you like, mr. president. >> a remarkable choice we've been caused to face. ambassador, thank you for joining us, former ambassador to
2:46 am
the united emirates and syria. the future superstars may not make a sweat. the rise of e-sports into a multi billion dollar business next. >> weekday mornings on al jazeera america >> start your day with in depth coverage from across the country and around the world. >> the future looks uncertain... >> real news keeping you up to date. >> an informed look on the night's events, a smarter start to your day. mornings on al jazeera america
2:47 am
2:48 am
>> microsoft is mining for mine craft. media reports say the tech giant is in talks to buy the swedish company creator of mine craft for $2 billion. mine craft is a pixel ateed video game and sold more than 50 million copies since 2009. the deal could help revive microsoft 's x-box business. now imagine watching other people play video games while you sit in the stands or stare
2:49 am
at a screen just like you would watch a baseball game. it may sound crazy but millions of people do it every day. now there is a name for it, e sports. it took off in south korea years ago where there is even an e sports tv channel but the u.s. is quickly catching up. the state department granted it's first athletic visa to a professional gamer, something reserved for traditional athletes. as david shuster reports that is growing popularity and money behind a sport that some critics say isn't really a sport. >> this summer in seattle 11,000 fans packed into one of the city's largest arenas to watch video gamers battle it out in the international championships. at stake bragging rights and a prize of nearly $11 million, the biggest in video gaming history. >> you have players who are taking home a $11 million
2:50 am
checks, and if you win a major, major event you're taking home a lot of money. >> d ota, or defense of the ancient, can league of legends and star craft make up the phenom phenomenon of e sports. >> we always need to be increasing our skill and getting better at what we do. >> claiming 70 viewers worldwide. 31million in the united states alone. most of them can be found on twitch, the screening platform amazon snapped up for nearly $1 billion. >> thank you. >> it's not just random people playing video games. we have everything from giant tournaments where the very best players in the world show off their skills to industry news presentations where you get to see new game watches live.
2:51 am
>> the biggest e sports event draw crowds. league of legends claimed 32 million viewers. that is more who watched both the world series and game seven of the nba times, and fans are not just showing up to watch. they're dropping big bucks on gaming contents spending $21 billion on games, hardware and accessories. >> it is gigantic. it is global, and of course it's a crime demographic in the 18 to 35-year-old male range. >> with fewer teens watching tv this demographic is like cat nip to advertisers who are flocking to sponsor e sports events. >> massive companies like redbull here in detroit. companies like mcdonald's and more endemic sponsors like best buy. >> these sponsors are helping to
2:52 am
build the sport with larger and increasingly lavish events and help the growing numbers of game injuries this is a legitimate business career opportunity. programmers are not--they're not just sitting in their parents' basement wasting their time playing a mindless game. >> despite the big money and popularity of e sports some older americans may question whether playing video games really qualify as a sport. >> five or ten years from now they'll see e sports much like you see any other major mainstream sport. it will be covered in tv, sports sections, we'll see bigger tournaments, larger prize pools and i hope twitch is part that have. >> e sports is clearly an event to be reckoned with.
2:53 am
in chicago there is even a scholarship to start the school's league of legends team. despite the growing legitimatcy of video games as a spectator sport, it's not quite like traditional sports. you are like complexity game something like the dallas cowboys except the dallas cowboys all play football all the time as a team. your players don't. explain. >> that's absolutely correct. our players play multiple games. it's more akin to sports as a whole and that's why we classify it as esports. our games will play in dota two, league of legends, star craft two and other games that have professionalized gaming in which they travel around the world and compete for money and in some cases for salaries, and full on leagues like league championship series. >> david mentioned the huge prize pool for some of these tournaments up to $11 million up
2:54 am
to the seattle event. that's an exception. what kind of money can these e athletes expect to make? >> so the top gamers and many of them can make i in the seven-figure range if they're the best of the best. in all likelihood they'll pay between nothing to $100,000. the lcs players make a fairly decent salary paid for by teams and riot, the publisher of the game. the prize money is tremendous as well, i believe it's $3.8 million for first place this year. so the interesting thing about dota it was not an anomaly, but it was crowd funded partially crowd funded. the publisher put up money but the fans put in content and game and that helped to fuel the prize money. >> where is it so big now? competitive games have been around for a long time. what changed? david
2:55 am
alluded to the fact it's hard to find advertisers to like them. >> twitch and platforms like that, it has made it accessible to everyone with a computer. it made is very easy and more cost effective for those of us who have been trying to professionalize this for a long time to be able to get the content out to viewers. it used to be a very expensive undertaking. now anyone with a computer can install a piece of software and you're up and monetize themselves and get a fan base and viewer base. that has broken down a lot of walls. publishers have seen the wisdom of marketing gamers by highlighting the competitive aspect. they have invested money in the right places. dota two, the ability to pep the gamers by creating content in the game, and further helping to grow this fund by monetizing the actual user base.
2:56 am
that's something we used to struggle with heavily being able to find a way to have content that the fans would want to pay for. >> clearly something has happened that people are now willing to pay for. what an interesting story. thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> the co-owner and coo of complexity gaming. coming up next, what do stolen university e-mail addresses , snake vile, and a tom cruise bobblehead have in common? i'll tell you when i come back. >> an astonishing america tonight investigative report >> why are you wearing gloves? >> ocd... taking over this woman's life... >> i don't wanna touch anything... >> now a controversial surgery can literally reprogram her mind >> we can modify emotional circuitry >> is this a miracle cure? or an ethical nightmare? >> there's a lot of mystery right now... >> rewiring the brain an america tonight
2:57 am
investigative report only on al jazeera america >> a crisis on the border >> they're vulnerable these are refugees. >> migrant kids flooding into the us. >> we're gonna go and see who's has just been deported. >> why are so many children fleeing? >> your children will be part of my group... >> fault lines, al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> there blocking the door... >> ground breaking... >> truth seeking... >> we have to get out of here... award winning investigative documentary series...
2:58 am
no refuge: children at the border only on al jazeera america >> finally tonight we've been talking a lot lately and will continue to talk more about alibaba,'s china's ecommerce giant. and it's getting attention as the company begins to publicly trading shares in the united states. it could be the largest ever offering in the country. we're getting to know it's founder jack ma and the fortune he has made. much of that is tied to t ao bo u. it's like an ebay amazon thing, a smorgasbord. apparently $390 can buy fake or stolen e-mail accounts from one of
2:59 am
elite elite universities. how about a bobblehead of tom cruise--check. and whether the odd mix of online shopping items will deliver the hefty return that investors are counting on. i'll keep on top of that story. that's our show for today. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. [music]
3:00 am
>> we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they were. president obama threatens air strikes in syria as he lays out a plan to strike the islamic state group. hello, i'm darren jordan from the world news in al jazeera. also ahead, new accusations against israel on attacks from u.n. schools used as shells in gaza. accused of the murder, a judge about to deliver a verd o ict in the trial of -- verdict of oscar pistorius. and

17 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on